Close to 2 000 pupils fall pregnant in a year, deputy education minister Anna Nghipondoka revealed last week. According to the deputy minister the Education Management Information System (EMIS) 2018 reported that 1 982 learners dropped out of school due to pregnancy, while in 2017, 1 935 girls were pregnant.
“The Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture records not less than 1 500 pregnancy cases, on annual basis, among schoolgoing adolescent girls, and this trend is worrisome,” said Nghipondoka.
She was speaking at the launch of the Let’s Talk Campaign on Early and Unintended Pregnancies (EUP) last week Friday in Windhoek, which was held by the ministry in conjunction with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
As the education sector, Nghipondoka said, they are especially worried of the resultant high dropout rates from school by young girls due to pregnancy.
Nghipondoka said major concerns from these high and increasing numbers of school dropouts includes the health, psychological, socio and economic consequences this has on the lives of the young girls and their unborn children. “The increasing EUP will thus impact negatively on the Sustainable Development Goal 4 of achieving inclusive quality education, and life-long learning opportunities for all by 2030. We thus appreciate that as a collective, today we are launching a campaign to address the scourge,” said Nghipondoka. Sharing her story at the event, 19-year-old mother Talitha //Garoes from A. Shipena Secondary School who fell pregnant two years ago while in grade 9, said her boyfriend was her neighbour and 10 years older than her. Luckily for //Garoes, she continued with her school after delivering her baby and she thanked her supportive mother who was by her side throughout her pregnancy. //Garoes advised young girls to focus on their education and stay away from relationships that will not benefit them but bring them challenges and delays from achieving their dreams. “Abstinence is the best thing for us young girls because we are not able to handle the consequence of unprotected sex. Let us build a better future for ourselves so that we may be important and respectable women in society one day,” said //Garoes.
According to Nghipondoka, the campaign is aimed at tackling EUP through thematic areas. Firstly, advocating for increased access to sexual and reproductive health service for the youth, without judgement or discrimination. Secondly, ensure adolescents receive comprehensive life skills education so that they are equipped to make informed life choices and prevent EUP. Thirdly, is to empower adolescents and young people to know their rights to make decisions regarding their health and education that will allow them to reach their full potential. She added there is a need to increase their effort to ensure the national education sector policy on the prevention and management of learner pregnancy is to be localized to school level, with enough advocacy to ensure understanding and acceptance without stigmatizing girls who fall pregnant. Speaking at the same event, UN Resident Coordinator in Namibia Rachel Odede added boys should be engaged and taught about pregnancy and violence prevention, challenging negative notions of masculinity and including them in efforts to make schools safe, free of bullying, violence and discrimination. “We need to talk about how the media can report responsibly and change the narrative for adolescent girls and boys, and how men and boys can prevent early pregnancy, gender-based violence, HIV transmission and child marriages,” said Odede.
2020-02-17 07:27:31 | 1 months ago